Welcome to India! By Jake Gould (A’22)

by tuftsigl
Jun 14

As part of the ALLIES Joint Research Project (JRP) this summer, we have the opportunity to conduct research with the US Naval Academy in India.  Given the opportunity to work with a diverse group of students with a wide range of interests, our research topics span everywhere from health care in India, the Digital India project, and India’s conflict over the Kashmir region with Pakistan.  Specifically, I will be focusing on the recent attacks in Pulwama, Chinese investment in the region, and how government officials and citizens can work together on policy to address heightened tensions in the region.

 Our time in New Delhi thus far has been absolutely incredible.  We have broken up our days into meetings with key stakeholders in the region to gather information useful for our research.  The first meeting we had was a roundtable at the US Embassy in which people from several different departments were represented. Specifically, people from the office of defense cooperation and the office of political affairs spoke with us on the United States’ role in mitigating conflict within the region, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and the history of India.

 Here, we were able to ask questions specific to our topics, but also it was here that we gained a deeper understanding of the region and the layers of conflict that exist.  Since then, we have traveled to the Center for Policy Research and the Observer Research Foundation, two prominent think tanks here in India, to meet with scholars, professors, and officials to dive deeper into the information presented to us at the US embassy.   We discussed some of the major differences between the Pakistani and Indian military forces, each country’s nuclear capabilities, and the cost benefit calculation when the determine whether or not they want to go to war.  Finally, we spoke about China’s end goal when it comes to their investment in the region. The Belt and Road Initiative is something the US embassy, as well as all other powerful countries are watching very closely.

Today, we made one final trip to the US embassy to meet with Robert Swartz, former national security advisor to Vice President Cheney.  Given the opportunity to speak in a room one on one with him, we were enthralled with the stories he shared and the knowledge he passed on to us.  We look forward to presenting all of this new information we have gathered as we begin to formulate our research paper and start to determine how we will take our research from here.

As well as the research we have conducted and the officials we have met with, we have been enjoying the beauty of India and everything the country has to offer.  We have spent nights at Khan Market, visited the India Gate, and ventured through Old Delhi.  We have enjoyed chicken tikki masala, naan bread, and dal.  

We are excited to embark for Agra tomorrow where we will be seeing the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.